AN ORDINANCE relating to protecting public safety by requiring personal flotation devices on major King County rivers; directing the executive to develop and implement an outreach plan to inform the public of the new requirement; prescribing penalties; amending Resolution 28232, Section 2, as amended, and K.C.C. 12.44.020 and adding new sections to K.C.C. chapter 12.44.
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF KING COUNTY:
SECTION 1. Findings:
A. King County is fortunate to have many large rivers which are regularly used for swimming, floating and boating.
B. While King County rivers provide numerous recreational opportunities, rivers are natural systems that pose inherent dangers from cold temperatures, rapid and unpredictable currents, and other hazards.
C. This year, an unusually heavy amount of mountain snow is melting into King County rivers, and a tumultuous winter flood season changed river channels and reoriented logs.
D. Numerous studies have shown that wearing a personal flotation device significantly reduces a person’s chances of drowning.
E. The experience of other jurisdictions has demonstrated that adopting requirements for wearing personal flotation devices significantly increases the use of flotation devices.
F. Protecting public health and safety is the most fundamental purpose of government.
G. In 2010, an information study by the King County department of natural resources and parks of recreational boater use on the Cedar river found in its sample observations that only two percent of youth wore personal flotation devices when floating the Cedar river.
H. Snowpack at this time in some Cascade Range river basins is roughly two hundred percent of normal, which may mean higher than normal river flows well into the summer recreational season.
I. Recreational use on King County rivers is likely to increase dramatically with warmer weather approaching.
J. Based on the experience of other jurisdictions, requiring the use of ...Click here for full text